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Tyralak

ASVS Research Project 001 - Star Trek Power Generation and Use Levels

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As promised, this is the first ASVS collaborative research project. These projects will work by a topic being raised, video evidence being submitted in the form of clips, discussion of the examples, and conclusions drawn. This is specifically a scientific exercise, so please do your best to be objective. We all have our favorites in the debate area, but with these research projects, we need to put those aside. These topics will never be locked, because even as conclusions are drawn, the answer is not always final. New evidence and new understanding can always be brought to light in any of these projects. So, if you feel you have something to add to a project, even if it has lain dormant for a very long time, feel free to bump the thread. Now, on to the first subject.

 

Star Trek power generation and usage levels. This has always been a nebulous issue, due to many statements which seem on the surface to contradict each other. I began doing some independent research on my own after the success of Brian's Isoton theory. The question being raised is: How much power do ships in Star Trek generate, how much is used for various systems, the power level of starship shielding and the power of energy weapons? I have numerous examples captured, and thanks to Brian's tireless efforts with video capture, many examples I didn't have to capture on my own. All evidence should be in the form of video clips in context. Please avoid five second "gotcha" clips without any background. If you do not have video capture equipment, or do not have the source material, please provide the episode and quote, and I will locate the appropriate clip and insert it into your post. In some cases exact power levels are given. In some cases, implications are made with partial information. It will be our job to take all these examples and thread them together to form a cohesive theory.

 

First clip I will present is the famous scene in TNG: "True Q". In this clip, Data is asked how much power is being generated in the warp core.

 

OK. So, Data states the warp core is "generating 12.75 billion gigawatts per...." Then he's interrupted. The script says the sentence was supposed to end with "per second". Some people (including a certain foul tempered Canadian) assume Data is an idiot, because you don't express power as "watts per second". That is incorrect. Watt-second is a measurement of power. Watt Second.

So, if we were to take this number as stated, what sort of functions was the ship performing? Is this peak power output, or is it nominal output? Since the ship isn't burning up, it's obviously using the amount of power it's generating. These two clips taken just before and after the incident, respectively indicate that the ship is not at warp. At best, it's at impulse.

 

Before:

 

Notice the lack of warp effect.

 

After:

 

Notice in the windows, the starfield is not moving.

 

Also, there is no threat, so shields are down and weapons are not powered. The reactor is apparently providing power to normal ship systems. Life support, navigation, communications, computer core, navigational deflectors, sensors, lighting, artificial gravity, holodecks, etc. Impulse engines supposedly have their own fusion reactors, so they likely wouldn't be drawing from the main warp core. From the indications I see here, it leads me to conclude that 12.75 exawatts is the amount of power generated and used in normal ship operations. Essentially the equivalent of sitting at a stoplight.

 

But what about this clip from TNG "The Dauphin"?

 

 

It's a very strange quote. It seems to conflict the bulk of other references in Trek. The only explanation I have, is that Riker was talking about power generated for the short range communications array. Given Data's comment "Nevertheless, that is what's needed to penetrate the atmosphere."

 

If it was referring to the total output of the reactor, it would conflict with this quote from TNG "The Masterpiece Society"

 

 

Interestingly enough, if Geordi was talking about total reactor output, it would be contradicted by many other references. My personal theory, which seems to be supported by a quote from Voyager is that he was talking about the plasma in the power conduits.

 

If both of those quotes were indicative of total reactor output, then this rifle would be producing more power than a Galaxy Class starship.

 

 

These clips from Voyager indicate very high power usage for individual systems.

 

From VOY "Good Shepherd"

 

 

From VOY "Pathfinder"

 

 

In this clip from VOY "Revulsion", we're shown how much power is going through a standard power conduit. It also gives us an indication of what a Borg exoskeleton can handle.

 

 

I have many more examples, including ones directly related to shield and Phaser strength. However, this is a good start for the project. 

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The reactor is apparently providing power to normal ship systems. Life support, navigation, communications, computer core, navigational deflectors, sensors, lighting, artificial gravity, holodecks, etc. Impulse engines supposedly have their own fusion reactors, so they likely wouldn't be drawing from the main warp core. From the indications I see here, it leads me to conclude that 12.75 exawatts is the amount of power generated and used in normal ship operations. Essentially the equivalent of sitting at a stoplight.

In context only to the examples in this thread this is difficult to rationalize. All of the clips which represent the kinda power the ships use seem to range from 1 terawatt peak comms output to tens or hundreds of terawatts. You'd probably need hundreds of thousands of such systems to amount to the lofty 12.75 million terawatts, so given these examples I might be more inclined to go with watt-hours.

 

I can't imagine life support or computers requiring the energy of gigaton bombs every second to run, but their sensors are pretty bloody fast; their able to simultaneously can multiple near by star systems in a matter of seconds and determine the existence of life forms, evidence of advanced planetary civilizations and even detect traces of weapon discharge in orbit! This implies their sensors are not only uber advanced in the fact they can detect pretty much anything and everything in a star system, but they are also millions of times faster than lightspeed providing near instant multi-light year range. So perhaps these sensors could be the power hungry beast which munches the exawatts. 

 

Edit: although the dialogue does state the gun is "terawatt powered" I don't necessarily think that a terajoule per second interpretation is most consistent with the effects. The volume of damage other energy weapons like 20 MJ phase pistols and the ~4GJ CRM anti-vehicle rifle produce imply the effects of the Thoron gun are probably more consistent with 40 gigajoule 1/24th second terawatt pulses (ray gun page). And thats still an order of magnitude more powerful than the CRM. 

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In context only to the examples in this thread this is difficult to rationalize. All of the clips which represent the kinda power the ships use seem to range from 1 terawatt peak comms output to tens or hundreds of terawatts. You'd probably need hundreds of thousands of such systems to amount to the lofty 12.75 million terawatts, so given these examples I might be more inclined to go with watt-hours.

 

I can't imagine life support or computers requiring the energy of gigaton bombs every second to run, but their sensors are pretty bloody fast; their able to simultaneously can multiple near by star systems in a matter of seconds and determine the existence of life forms, evidence of advanced planetary civilizations and even detect traces of weapon discharge in orbit! This implies their sensors are not only uber advanced in the fact they can detect pretty much anything and everything in a star system, but they are also millions of times faster than lightspeed providing near instant multi-light year range. So perhaps these sensors could be the power hungry beast which munches the exawatts. 

 

Edit: although the dialogue does state the gun is "terawatt powered" I don't necessarily think that a terajoule per second interpretation is most consistent with the effects. The volume of damage other energy weapons like 20 MJ phase pistols and the ~4GJ CRM anti-vehicle rifle produce imply the effects of the Thoron gun are probably more consistent with 40 gigajoule 1/24th second terawatt pulses (ray gun page). And thats still an order of magnitude more powerful than the CRM. 

 

Well, I may have jumped the gun a bit by adding the analysis before all the examples have been collected. Sometimes it's easy to get ahead of one's self. :) I have quite a few clips to add, and am still finding more. I will post as many as I can, and if you have any please post them. If you don't have the clips, but know where they're from, I will be glad to rustle them up for you. :) 

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Unless you can provide in text what is being said in those videos, I'm useless here.

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Unless you can provide in text what is being said in those videos, I'm useless here.

 

Yes, I would be glad to transcribe them.

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Soooooooooooooo... Where are the transcriptions? :p

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Soooooooooooooo... Where are the transcriptions? :p

 

I believe you need a prescription for the transcription. :)

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But for a prescription, you need a subscription.

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Well, I may have jumped the gun a bit by adding the analysis before all the examples have been collected. Sometimes it's easy to get ahead of one's self. :) I have quite a few clips to add, and am still finding more. I will post as many as I can, and if you have any please post them. If you don't have the clips, but know where they're from, I will be glad to rustle them up for you. :)

Well i have seven series of TNG and i think one series of DS9, so I'll compile anything i find as i find. I'm watching TNG at the moment, its always been my favourite along with the original series. I'll be sure to scour it for all technical tidbits on this run through ! 

 

I'll organize them into categories as i go along, see what folders get the biggest. 

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